Apr
1

16 Great Sons & Daughters of Country Music Greats

April 1, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  38 Comments

Country music isn’t just a genre of music, it is a musical religion, a way of life, a cultural lineage passed down from generation to generation and preserved through the blood and bond of its performers and fans. That’s why it seems country music performers so very often tend to turn out to be the parents of country music performers themselves.

Let’s take a look at some of country music’s greatest sons and daughters.


Justin Townes Earle

justin-townes-earleSon of alt-country pioneer Steve Earle, and middle namesake of the man who was good friends with his father and considered one of the greatest songwriters ever, Justin Townes Earle has spent the last seven or so years trying to live up to the lofty expectations of both names, and has done so valiantly. Releasing a startling debut EP in 2007 called Yuma, Earle and his obsession with the craft of songwriting have led to critical success for the five albums he’s released through Bloodshot Records. Considered by many as one of the biggest names in the new generation of alt-country/Americana performers, Justin has done it not by being a chip off the old block, but by forging his own path.

Justin’s relationship with his father has been rocky over the years. Steve Earle left Justin and his mother when Justin was just 2-year-old, and the younger Earle had a tumultuous, troubled, and at times, drug-fueled childhood. But he has soldiered on to carry a name all his own.


Waylon Payne

The son of Willie Nelson’s long-time guitarist Jody Payne and Grammy Award-winning country music singer Sammi Smith, Waylon is named after his Godfather, Waylon Jennings. Raised by his aunt and uncle due to his parents’ heavy touring schedules, Payne attended seminary after high school and was on track to become a minister before catching the music bug. For a while Payne was part of the popular Eastbound and Down country night at the King King Club in Hollywood where performers would swap classic country songs. Payne later released the album The Drifter in 2004 through Republic Universal.

Music isn’t Waylon Payne’s only creative calling though. He may be known more as an actor than a musician. In the award-winning Johnny Cash film I Walk The Line, Payne played Jerry Lee Lewis. He also played country great Hank Garland in a small film called Crazy, along with making numerous television appearances, including on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


Hank Williams III (or Hank3) 

hank3-photoThe grandson of Hank Williams and the son of Hank Jr., if there was ever a spitting image of country music’s first superstar, it would be him. He not only carries the visage and build of Hank Sr., but also the voice and writing style when he wants to go in that direction. The youngest Hank though has a hankering to delve into the wild side of music as well, and has released multiple punk albums during his career that has now stretched into two decades.

Hank3 started out playing drums and guitar in underground punk bands, with no real drive to be a part of the country music machine. But when a paternity suit put him in court, he decided to sign with Curb Records, and entered into a tumultuous period with the label that at the least resulted in multiple landmark records, including the neo-traditional country stalwart Lovesick, Broke, & Driftin’, and his double album opus Straight to Hell. Hank3 is now an independent artist, and carries on the family tradition of doing the music he wants and defying expectation.


Holly Williams

The granddaughter of Hank Williams, daughter of Hank Jr., and half sister of Hank Williams III has had a somewhat strange musical journey, but one that has seen her bloom recently to become one of the leading females in country/Americana, keeping the music true to its roots while moving it forward.

Holly’s early career saw her sign to major labels like Universal South and Mercury Nashville, trying to break into the big time, but always seemingly with one foot in, and one foot out of that mainstream approach to music. She was also seriously injured in a near fatal crash in 2006 along with her sister Hilary who also is a performer. Then in February of 2013, Holly released The Highway independently, and since then has become a critical darling and a live performer not to miss. Though there were some that at times wondered if Holly was just a famous name, she’s proven recently that she’s so much more.


Ben Haggard

ben-haggardThe son of Merle Haggard and an official member of Merle’s legendary backing band The Strangers, Ben is a chip off the old block when it comes to slinging Telecasters and perfecting the West Coast, twangy Bakersfield tradition of loud and electric country music. Patterned in the mold of the pioneer of the craft, the under-appreciated Roy Nichols, Ben can be seen plying his craft and staring at the back of his father on any given night out on the road. This isn’t just your usual slot filled by a family member on stage. Ben’s skills are regarded by his musician peers as being standalone from any famous name.


Shooter Jennings

shooter-jenningsThe only child of Waylon Jennings and Jessi Coulter, Shooter started his musical journey in the rock band Stargunn before signing with Universal South in 2005 and releasing his first country record, Put The ‘O’ Back In Country. He subsequently released two more country records infused with some Southern rock & roll before putting out his rock opus, the experimental album Black Ribbons. Shooter re-established his country roots with the 2012 album Family Man, followed up by 2013′s The Other Life.

Like many of country music’s famous sons and daughters, Shooter Jennings marches to his own drum, but always seems to come back to the country music fold.


Jubal Lee Young

Son of legendary Outlaw country songwriter and performer Steve Young (Lonesome, Onry & Mean, Seven Bridges Road), and songwriter Terrye Newkirk, Jubal Lee Young from Muskogee, Oklahoma put out an album in 2011 called Take It Home that included the song “There Ain’t No Outlaws Any More” that loudly proclaims, “Here comes another badass sellin’ Nashville rock and roll, long hair, denim and tattoos, lookin’ on’ry and mean. Singin’ songs about that lonesome road, some of ‘em might even be true. But there ain’t no outlaws anymore…”

-


Hank Williams Jr.

hank-jrThe most obvious and most successful of country music’s greatest sons, Hank Williams Jr. is very likely a future country music Hall of Famer, and has won multiple CMA Entertainer of the Year Awards and sold millions of albums. He started out his career as a virtual impersonator of his famous father, but rebelled against this preordained future to become so much more. Hank Jr. took a precipitous fall off of Ajax Mountain in Montana in 1975, landing on his face, and having to go through multiple surgeries before he could return to performing. And when he did, he quickly became known as “Rockin’” Randall Hank as he emerged with a sound that was just as much Southern rock as country.

In the mid 80′s, Hank Williams Jr. was one of country’s biggest stars, and now sits as a legend in the genre. He also is responsible for two other famous country offspring: Hank Williams III and Holly Williams, and a 2nd daughter Hilary Williams has also been a performer.


Georgette Jones

The only daughter of the country music super pairing of George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Georgette was said to have a recording contract on the day she was born. She recorded her first song at the ripe age of ten with her dad called “Daddy Come Home.” From there Georgette began singing backup for her mom, and she has gone on to become an accomplished songwriter and solo performer herself. Georgette has released numerous albums, including three for Heart of Texas Records. Her latest album Til I Can Make It On My Own is a tribute to her mother.

Georgette also appeared in the TV Series Sordid Lives and recorded numerous songs for the soundtrack, including Tammy Wynette tunes. She also recently released a memoir called The Three of Us: Growing Up with Tammy and George, Georgette Jones.


Shelli Coe

shelli-coeDaughter of David Allan Coe, Shelli was born in Nashville and raised in Austin, and appeared at the tender age of 3-years-old on her father’s Family Album project. She later worked as a backup singer for her father before landing in Branson, MO for a while where she performed in clubs, collaborated with other songwriters and appeared on the album Branson Songwriters Out in the Streets. Shelli subsequently returned to Austin where she is known to perform off and on. Her first full-length CD A Girl Like Me was released in 2010, and is worth a listen for folks that like traditional country music.


Lukas Nelson

lukas-nelson-sxsw-2014Surrounded by a bevy of musical siblings and one awfully famous father, the argument can be made that Lukas was the Willie offspring that received the most potent douse of Willie’s musical genes, and has a powerful voice to match his father’s. A dynamic, top-flight performer with a sound that trends much closer to rock than country, but still has an earthy, rootsy feel nonetheless, Lukas is on a fast track to becoming a superstar all his own.

From his towering leg kicks, to playing the guitar with his teeth, at only 23-years-old, Lukas could already be crowned as a guitar god. Leading his band The Promise of the Real, they’ve made waves in the music world on big tours. About the only thing holding the young star back is that rock music is in a weird spot right now, and guitar blazers are not what the masses are particularly looking for. But like his father, Lukas is not worried about anything but following his heart, and he promises to have a very bright future ahead of him with a tower of talent to draw from.


Eddie Shaver

Son of Outlaw country legend Billy Joe Shaver, Eddie Shaver was one of the best country music guitar shredders to ever take the stage. Aside from being his father’s right hand man for many years, Eddie Shaver studied under Dickey Betts of The Allman Brothers, played with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Guy Clark, The Eagles, and was Dwight Yoakam’s guitar player for the first two years of Dwight’s career.

It’s only because of Eddie’s untimely death that he’s not better known. He was scheduled to release his first solo album in 2001 when he died of a heroin overdose on New Years Eve of 2000. Though Billy Joe Shaver is known most for his songwriting, and Eddie as a guitar slinger, it only takes a glimpse at either to see that the musical talent runs very deep with the Shaver clan.


June Carter

01374463.JPGThough one might first think of June Carter as more of a mother of famous country artists instead of a daughter of them, June Carter is arguably the first daughter of country music. Her mother is “Mother” Maybelle Carter, given her nickname for being the mother of her performing daughters, and arguably the mother of country music. June began performing at the age of ten in 1939 as part of the landmark country outfit The Carter Family. It was through their mutual love of country music that she would eventually meet and fall in love with Johnny Cash, and the two went on to be one of country music’s powerhouse couples. June Carter was a muti-instrumentalist with a classic voice, and defines the nexus between country music’s primitive, classic, and modern eras.


Rosanne Cash

rosanne-cashIt can be easy to overlook just what kind of impact Rosanne Cash has had on American music over the years. She seems to always be overshadowed by her father, by other famous sons and daughters of country legends, measured against them, and dogged by preceding labels that don’t always allow her to be judged on her own merit, while her musical accomplishments veer towards being somewhat misunderstood because she’s not always been nestled smack dab in the country realm as people want, expect, or anticipate.

But Rosanne’s critical and commercial accomplishments are far more than complimentary, they define a very successful career: Eleven #1 country singles, twenty-one Top 40 singles, and thirteen Grammy nominations is nothing to sniff at, and ultimately might at least get her mentions as a potential Hall of Fame inductee.


john-carter-cash-001John Carter Cash

The only offspring between the country music super marriage of Johnny Cash and June Carter, John Carter Cash has spent his time as a singer and performer, but many of his important contributions to country music have come behind-the-scenes as a producer, songwriter, author, and general champion of the Cash estate and all things country music. It’s remarkable how many places you see John Carter’s name attached to projects as his puts effort out to make music happen in whatever capacity he can help in. Like his father, he has that selfless streak of service that surfaces in some of the most generous and cool ways.


Bobby Bare Jr.

Born in Nashville, TN to the original Outlaw Bobby Bare, Bobby Bare Jr. grew up next door to Tammy Wynette and George Jones in Hendersonville, and was nominated for a Grammy next to his father for the Shel Silverstein-written song “Daddy What If” from his father’s tribute album to Silverstein. Fronting roots rock bands like “Bare Jr.” and “Young Criminals Starvation League”, Bare’s career has been the result of avoiding “working a real job at any cost,” despite earning a psychology degree from the University of Tenessee, and not really getting deep into his own music until later in life. His high energy on stage and dark sarcasm in his songs have won him fans worldwide.


Other Famous Sons & Daughters:

Pam Tillis – 1994 CMA Female Vocalist of the Year, and daughter of country great Mel Tillis

The Carter Family Daughters – Carlene Carter, Helen Carter, Anita Carter, Rosie Nix Adams.

Jett Williams – Daughter of Hank Williams that found out about her famous father later in life. Jett has been a performer and plays an important role as one of the executors of the Hank Williams estate.

Jesse Keith Whitley – Son of Lorrie Morgan and Keith Whitley

Marty Haggard, Noel Haggard, and Scott Haggard- More performing sons of Merle.

Dean Miller – Son of Roger Miller

Lilly Hiatt – Daughter of John Hiatt

Chelsea Crowell – Daughter of Rosanne Cash and Rodney Crowell

Paula Nelson – Leader of The Paul Nelson Band.

Tyler Mahan Coe – Guitar player and writer who spent years touring in his father’s band.

Folk Uke – Made up Willie Nelson’s daughter Amy, and Arlo Guthrie’s daughter Cathy.

Whey Jennings – The son of Terry Jennings, and grandson of Waylon Jennings.

Lucas Hubbard – Son of Ray Wylie Hubbard who often plays lead guitar with his father.

Lucky Tubb – Not technically a son or daughter, but a great nephew of Ernest.

Bluegrass – There are many performing sons and daughters of famous bluegrass musicians, but for fear of forgetting some and getting yelled at for it, this sentence is in dedication to them all. You rock! Or pick, or strum, or pluck! Go YOU!

38 Comments to “16 Great Sons & Daughters of Country Music Greats”

  • Great list. Waylon Payne bummed a cigarette off a buddy of mine on a trip to Nashville outside The Stage on Broadway a couple years ago, cool guy, he joined the band on stage and sang Great Balls of Fire and Help Me Make It Through the Night.

    The only one I’d add would be Jess Keith Whitley, son of both Keith Whitley and Lorrie Morgan, ex-step son of singer/songwriter Jon Randall and Sammy Kershaw.

       1 likes

    • “The only one I’d add would be Jess Keith Whitley, son of both Keith Whitley and Lorrie Morgan, ex-step son of singer/songwriter Jon Randall and Sammy Kershaw.”

      Good call. :) I’d also add that Lorrie herself is the daughter of “Candy Kisses” crooner George Morgan.

         1 likes

      • I was visiting Nashville and I could not believe it, I met Lorrie Morgan (who I love) at a restaurant downtown Nashville. She was lovely and she introduced me to her family and friends who were with her. Lorrie and Keith Whitley’s son Jesse Keith Whitley, cousin Zach, Todd Ashburn and Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus’s cousin Bobby Cyrus. Everyone was so nice to me, just makes me like Lorrie that much more. Many great family acts stated in this article, I do love the way Lorrie and her son sing together.

        Great Article!!
        Jenny

           0 likes

  • I can’t think of any better addition to the strangers than Ben Haggard.

       1 likes

  • What about Pam Tillis?

       1 likes

    • Good one.

         0 likes

  • Django Walker, son of Jerry Jeff. Not sure what he’s been up to lately.

       5 likes

    • Django is concentrating on writing mostly these days and had a cut “something bout a boat” on the last Jimmy Buffett CD that twas also featured on the set list every night on this last tour so he is having some success as a writer.

         1 likes

  • you forgot to mention Merle’s other son Marty Haggard..he was and still is a performer as well

       0 likes

  • I’m one of the only people I know who loves Willie Nelson’s album “Heroes” (still have no idea why that album gets hate). The best songs on that record (The Sound of Your Memory, No Wings to Fly) involve heavy doses of Lukas Nelson. Coincidence? I think not.

       4 likes

    • I love “Heroes” and consider it a comeback album from Willie and regard it as one of his best late-career albums, partly because of the collaborations with Lukas. It’s a great introduction to Lukas for people who want to delve into him as an artist.

         2 likes

      • I also love “The Scientist” getting to shine, as a song. Coldplay/Coldplay’s singer may have wrote it, but it fit so much better in the hands of Willie and guitar.

           0 likes

  • Not really a son but grandson..Chris Scruggs. I never knew Waylon Payne’s background. I noticed him playing with Tonya Watts alot and seen him in a few movies.

       3 likes

  • One wonders, if so many of his own offspring are featured as well, why Hank Jr. isn’t above them as opposed to being below them? I guess because he’s a rather obvious choice?

       0 likes

    • I presented the names in no particular order on purpose, and even tried to mix it up to where no order could be implied. My intent here was not to rate the artists in any way, but to spread awareness about them. Some are very well-known, others are worthy artists that deserve more attention.

         1 likes

    • From a comercial standpoint Hank Jr. may be the most successful of any of the country music offspring.

         0 likes

      • Why is deserving of a mention. Do you really think there is someone reading this site that might not be aware of this?

           0 likes

        • Perhaps not. However, others mentioned have been extremely comercially succesful as well like Pam Tillis and Lorie Morgan. Therefore, pointing out Hank Jr. success somewhat eclipses the others is not out of line entirely. Some people choose to be snarky in their comments but luckily most people do not.

             1 likes

  • roni , donna & scotty stoneman all children of pops stoneman. id also add carlene carter even though her career was ruined by drug use I think she still produced enough good music to earn a mention.

       0 likes

    • I mentioned her along with the other Carter daughters in the bottom section. I actually think Carlene boasts a pretty decent musical resume, despite some of the fights with personal demons. I’ve enjoyed a lot of her stuff here and there, and after all, she was the one that coined the phrase “Put the cun* back in country.”

         2 likes

      • Carter’s duet with Dave Edmunds “Baby Ride Easy” should have been a mega hit. She has made some excellent music, none better than that cut with Edmunds.

           1 likes

  • Lots of family traditions in country music. My favorite Haggard son is Noel, mostly because he sounds so much like his dad.

       0 likes

  • That Holly Williams tune …… so sad/good.

    thanks for this, very interesting.

       0 likes

  • I’m not familiar with her music, but Chelsea Crowell is the daughter of Rosanne Cash and Rodney Crowell.

       1 likes

  • Hey, you left out Waylon Jenning’s grandson Struggle! (just kidding)

       1 likes

  • This is a great, great thread.

    Thanks for including the second generation artists who are not your personal favorites.

    They are all part of the fabric of country music dynasties.

    I would add that I remember 26 – 28 years ago when a young college girl named Deana served beer at the most popular tavern in town.

    She told us she wanted to be a country singer, but she didn’t share her last name as I recall.

    She doesn’t play my kind of music, but she is part of the Carter/Cash clan.

       0 likes

    • If you’re referring to Deana Carter, her dad was singer-songwriter / producer / session guitarist Fred Carter Jr. :)

         1 likes

  • The children exceeded the fame of their parents but I’d add Kasey Chambers, daughter of Bill Chambers, and Darrell Scott, son of Wayne Scott.

       0 likes

  • Man what a good line up. Jubal Lee sounds extremely much like his dad. Thank you Trigg!

       0 likes

  • Don’t forget Dean Miller… and John Ritter!

       0 likes

  • I noticed someone conspicuously absent from this article. Dean Miller, who has a new album and video with Kris Kristofferson.

    Dean

       2 likes

    • Hello Dean,

      Thanks for the information. I have added your name above.

      Please appreciate the point was not to exclude anyone from this list, nor was it intended to be an unabridged compendium of any and all performing sons and daughters in the country music realm, because even if I had included twice as many names as I did, many would have still been absent. It goes without saying that one person will not have the knowledge of every single performer in country. The point of this article was to attempt to spread awareness about the artists I was aware of, and in turn, it has helped me increase my awareness of artists I did not know of as well. Ironically, I distinctly remember your video premier with Kristofferson on USA Today I believe a while back, and had it in the site’s news stream and posted it on some social networks at the time. But for whatever reason, I forgot about it when compiling this list.

      Unfortunately, many times these types of lists simply become a “Where’s Waldo”-style exercise of people scanning the content for any omissions instead of actually interacting with it to discover new artists. I spent many hours working on this article, and unfortunately, this appears to have been the majority way people decided to interact with it. So it goes.

      Nonetheless, I apologize for the oversight.

         0 likes

  • What about Robyn Young and Dean Miller? Both of their fathers are surely legends…

       1 likes

  • You left off Scott Haggard, who actually performed at the benefit for Wayne Mills last month. Just because he isn’t making waves doesn’t mean he is not good. He prefers to play for local spots and not ride his daddies coat tail.

       0 likes

    • thanks for enlightening me on Scott Haggard. Once again, the point here was not to overlook or exclude anyone. It would be impossible for one person, or even a group of people to know every single offspring of a country artist and include it on a list. The intent is to try to expand the knowledge of as many of these artists as possible.

         0 likes

  • Great article Trig, a lot of discoveries here, and a TON of talent! Much appreciated!

       0 likes

  • Don’t forget Hank 3′s canine son Trooper. He’s contributed vocals to multiple albums.

       1 likes

  • Deana Carter, Savannah Welch, Dustin Welch, Hilary Scott…. I could go on. Many, many missing here!

       0 likes

Leave a comment

Old Soul Radio Show
Hillgrass Bluebilly
KOOK

Categories

Archives